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ABOUT ME

I am grateful to be a part of a historic election in 2022. In the past 16 years, only three Deputy Public Defenders have run for Judge of the Superior Court. This year, several are. I am proud to run alongside and support Holly Hancock for Seat 70 and Elizabeth Lashley-Haynes for Seat 67.

 

Through a passion for the rights of all people, as well as my experiences rooted in public service and protecting people's Constitutional rights, I have seen why we need more women like myself to run for a seat as Judge of the Superior Court. I have seen and experienced styles of judicial interpretation that were inspiring, as well as those that were not. As a working mother, I also became acutely aware of the need for more women on the bench.

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Experience, dedication and compassion

My Values: 

The law is constantly evolving and changing to adapt to the needs of our county. I consider myself a lifelong learner, and I believe that this is crucial to ensuring that the judiciary continues to reflect the values and interests of the people in Los Angeles County. I want to meet this moment, promote more transparency in the judicial election process, and uphold the ideals of our legal system, while offering creative solutions that benefit the county.

 

Through my role as a Deputy Public Defender, I have a unique perspective and understanding on the issues we are dealing with daily in the courts, especially issues impacting the poorest and most vulnerable members of our community. I believe in creativity on the bench, embracing new laws that allow judges to promote solutions to the problems we face and serve the interest of Angelenos.

 

As someone with a family member who has a debilitating mental health disorder, I am also acutely aware of how that affects families and the people suffering from mental illness.  In representing clients who suffer from similar illnesses, I have tried to offer them the care, respect, and attention that they deserve.  I think that our legal system can and should do better for those suffering from mental health related issues.  I look forward to exploring the feasibility of new laws offering alternatives like treatment, rehabilitation, and diversion, so that all involved parties can have a more just outcome.  

Most importantly, I intend to bring balance to the bench by offering a deep understanding of the law, contributing to a judiciary that is as diverse and complex as the people it serves, and above all, upholding the Constitution with dignity and respect for everyone in my courtroom.

My Background: 

I obtained my J.D. at the University of California, Davis, King Hall School of Law. While at Davis, I was an extern at Legal Services of Northern California representing indigent clients with matters like unlawful evictions and obtaining benefits.  I finished my last year of courses at UCLA, and during that time I interned at a union, then clerked at the District Attorney's office before passing the bar. 

My first position was with a small firm that handled union matters, with the bulk of my work focused on matters involving Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies in administrative matters like hearings at the Civil Service Commission, internal affairs investigations, and counsel during homicide investigations.

 

When I started my career at the Los Angeles Public Defender’s office as a Deputy Public Defender, I was pregnant with my second child.  I hit the ground running as a trial attorney handling jury trials, obtaining experience in felonies, misdemeanors, and almost three years in juvenile courts solely representing children. I continue to work in trials, and am also the treasurer of the Public Defender's Association. 

Like a lot of people in Los Angeles, I was first involved in the entertainment industry.  Law was a second career.  While I loved acting and worked regularly, I always had a passion for fighting injustice.  Some of my family escaped anti-Semitism during the pogroms. A relative was attacked with an ax and left for dead, and although she survived, she was permanently disfigured.  I was surrounded by Holocaust survivors growing up, and was very much aware of what happens when the law is used to promote inequity.  This planted a seed for my interest in social justice and fairness. 

 

When I was 19, my big brother, who was a smart, capable, wonderful person (and still is), began to exhibit symptoms of schizophrenia.  Watching him go through it in the beginning without having any ability to help was very emotional, and it still is.  When he had his first episode, he did end up having contact with law enforcement.  Although he was not charged with anything, he was hospitalized.  The whole experience was very traumatic for him, as well as for the family who loves him.  It made me more aware of the realities people with mental illness face in addition to obtaining care.  Mental illness is very much present in the courts, and it is an issue I think we need to do more to address.  

 

Working regularly as an actor allowed me access to school which I would not have had otherwise, and I embraced the opportunity to get an education so I could participate in making sure the law was more fair for everyone regardless of income or ability.  With my passion for equity and justice, I chose a career that would allow me to work on behalf of my interests, advocating for the rights of low income people and those with mental illness/disabilities.  I am proud of my role in making sure that other people's sons, daughters, parents, siblings, etc., are still afforded their dignity, and that I have preserved their constitutional rights through representing their interests at critical times in their lives.